In 2016, Hernandez signed with the Phillies (see below).
During the off-season, he resides in his hometown of Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela.
In 2010, Baseball America rated Hernandez as the 31st-best prospect in the Phillies organization. They moved him up to #19 in the winter before 2011 spring training.
In 2012, he was at #14. In 2013, he was #15. In 2014, they moved Cesar up to #8.
Hernandez, six months younger than Freddy Galvis, has watched intently as his friend and former Little Leaguer made it into the big leagues. Hernandez got to know Galvis as a kid. He lived in Valencia, and Galvis lived in Punto Fijo, two towns that are about three hours apart. "Since Little League, we played against each other," Hernandez said. "He always won. All through Little League, he won."
"We might be the same in a lot of ways, but I think I can hit more and I'm faster than him," Hernandez said. "But he's in the big leagues now."
It's conceivable that Galvis and Hernandez could be the double-play combination of the future in Philadelphia. Galvis is playing second base now, but has said he'd still love to be a shortstop in the future. Hernandez has come through the organization as a second baseman. (2012)
Cesar is not a vocal guy who draws a lot of attention to himself.
Spring 2013: Hernandez began the season in AAA, but in May, Michael Young was placed on bereavement leave, and subsequently, Hernandez was promoted to the Majors to fill Young's roster spot. On May 29, he made his debut, pinch hitting for Antonio Bastardo.
In July 2013, when Ben Revere sustained an injury, Hernandez was converted to a center fielder, a conversion he made quickly and effectively, garnering a call-up to the big leagues, as he was a "pleasant surprise." His manager, Dave Brundage, commented, "He’s done very well offensively and now they’re trying to see if we can create a spot or find a spot and see if it’s a fit or not."
2016 Season : Here are some numbers that Cesar Hernandez put up.
Hernandez had an fWAR of 4.4 in 2016, the highest mark on the Phillies and 9th-most among all MLB second basemen. In other words, according to Fangraphs, Hernandez was a top-10 second baseman in all of baseball in 2016.
Cesar had an rWAR of 3.3 in 2016, the second highest mark on the Phils (Odubel Herrera 4.2), 12th-best among MLB second-baggers. Hernandez had an on-base percentage of .371. That was 22nd-best in baseball. The man in front of him? Bryce Harper, at .373. Hernandez walked in 10.6% of his plate appearances, the most on the team among players with at least 200 PAs.
Hernandez led the league in triples with 11. And he led the league in bunt hits with 15.
Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Hernandez has accumulated 1074 PAs and is batting .285/.358/.374. He hit a career-high six home runs.
According to Fangraphs, Hernandez was worth +4 defensive runs saved in 2016, compared to -5 the year before and had a UZR of 13.5. Hernandez had a BABIP of .363 this year, one year after a BABIP of .342. It was .321 in 2014. But Hernandez was caught stealing 13 times and stole 17 bases, a stolen base percentage of just 56.7%.
Despite many misadventures on the bases, Hernandez finished the 2016 season with a BsR (Fangraphs’ metric that turns all running plays - stolen bases, caught stealings, taking extra bases, being thrown out on the bases - and turns it into an above and below average number) that found Hernandez was worth one run above average on the bases this year. He hit almost .300,and in the second half of 2016 batted .298/.413/.411.
Ballplayers can seem like their own children for longtime baseball men. They grow up right before their eyes, faster than seems possible. Cesar is one of those guys for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, who remembers seeing Hernandez when he was a teenager just learning his way around the Minor Leagues.
"Cesar was a shy young kid without a lot of confidence . . . ability, but not a lot of confidence," Mackanin said. "I've seen him grow through the years into a solid Major League player. It took quite a while for him to play with the confidence he's playing with now. He just exudes confidence."
Hernandez took over second base in 2015, after franchise icon Chase Utley was traded to the Dodgers. No one knew how long Hernandez would stay because of the rough edges in his game.
"Most of [my confidence] is [because] I don't have to play under pressure," Hernandez said in the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field, through translator Diego Ettedgui. "I don't feel pressure. I just come to the ballpark to have fun, play with a lot of energy. That's what I've been doing."
Hernandez seemed to turn a corner as a hitter in the second half of 2016.
"He hit well enough previous to last year," Mackanin said. "We felt he was better. You keep pushing and coaching and explaining what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, working with him on different things. It just takes time. Sometimes guys get on the scene and they're ready. Look at Corey Seager. Just a solid player from the get-go. Other players it takes a while to get where Cesar is now."
Hernandez has become comfortable in his surroundings.
"Now I have more experience," Hernandez said. "I've had a chance to get to know the pitchers. I know what they throw, how they like to face me. Little details like that help a lot. That goes a long way." (Rogers - mlb.com - 5/2/17)
Hernandez's nickname is "Cesita." It means "little Cesar" in Spanish. Hernandez's dad is also named Cesar. And Hernandez's mother got tired of trying to figure out who family and friends were talking about, so she gave her son a nickname.
2020 Season: Compared to the rest of the American League, Hernández ranked 7th in OBP, 14th in SLG, 10th in wRC+, and 3rd in WAR (1.9) among all qualified second basemen. Compared to the rest of the Indians’ lineup, Hernández ranked 2nd in runs (35), 1st in hits (66), first in doubles (20), second in AVG, 3rd in OBP, fourth in SLG, and 2nd in WAR. He was everything the Tribe could have asked for, settling into the No. 2 spot in the lineup by putting up good at-bats (4.12 pitches per plate appearance) and getting on base to set the table for José Ramírez.
I shudder to utter the word “clutch,” but Hernández was also productive at the plate with men on base (.356 AVG) and runners in scoring position (.386 AVG). He was actually less productive with the bases empty (.240 AVG). According to FanGraphs, the higher the leverage, the better Hernández performed, boasting a .381 batting average in high leverage plate appearances.
Defensively, Hernández had perhaps his best season since 2017. FanGraphs’ total runs above or below average based on Hernández’s defensive contributions (fielding and position) was 4.7 for 2020, after posting -0.9 and 1.6 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
No matter how you slice it, Hernández was a smart pick-up for the Tribe. The crime is that he wasn’t surrounded by a better lineup. I would be surprised if he ends up back in Cleveland, but the free agent market will certainly be, uh, interesting as teams across baseball cry poor this offseason in the wake of an abbreviated season with no fans and less revenue. Under normal circumstances, Hernandez’s show-me season after being non-tendered by the Phillies would put the 30-year-old in line for a decent free agent contract. (Blake Ruane - Oct 16, 2020)
July 2, 2006: At age 16, Hernandez was signed as a free agent by Phillies international scouting supervisor Sal Agostinelli and scouts Don Welke and Jesus Mendez. Cesar's bonus was $50,000.
Feb 3, 2017: The Phillies and Cesar avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal for $2.5 million.
Jan 12, 2018: Cesar and the Phillies avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $5.1 million.
Jan 11, 2019: Cesar and the Phillies avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $7.7 million.
Dec. 2, 2019: The Phillies non-tendered Hernandez, making him a free agent.
Dec 23, 2019: The Indians and Hernandez reached agreement an a one-year deal worth $6.2 million.
Oct 28, 2020: Cesar elected free agency.
- Jan 26, 2021: The Indians re-signed free agent Cesar to a one-year deal.
|Birth City:||Valencia, Carabobo,Venezuela|
|Draft:||2006 - Phillies - Free agent - Out of Venezuela|
Hernandez has outstanding instincts at the plate and is a pure hitter. He hits well from both sides of the plate, but He handles the bat significantly better from the left side. He is a slasher who makes consistent contact and uses all fields from both sides of the plate.
He has below-average power but does have some strength to the pull side, particularly when batting righthanded.
Cesar has a good eye and is willing to take a walk, helping his ability as a table-setter. He has a solid understanding of the strike zone. But he also will occasionally get impatient and chase a pitch, getting himself out. Pitchers can beat him with good velocity up in the zone.
He can bunt and hit-and-run effectively. He is a slap hitter who squares the ball up well.
Hernandez has the stuff to possibly be a big league leadoff hitter.
In 2015, Cesar replaced Chase Utley with the Phillies, and he did a good job of replacing a legend.
In 2018, the Baseball America Best Tools Survey of managers, scouts and executives rated Hernandez as the Best Bunter. And the third-best hit-and-run guy in the NL, behind D.J. LeMahieu and Jose Peraza.
2019 Season: In 161 games with Philadelphia, he hit .279 with a .741 OPS, 14 homers and 71 RBIs. He was also worth 1.7 Wins Above Replacement with a 92 wRC+, according to FanGraphs, while owning a .313 batting average on balls in play.
August 24, 2020: For over 119 seasons, the Cleveland organization has been putting together lineups for every game of every season, and not one player had accomplished the feat that Cesar pulled off. Hernandez started off the Indians’ 3-2 loss to the Twins with a bang, launching his 13th career leadoff homer in the bottom of the first after also starting yesterday’s game against the Tigers with a long ball for his first home run of the year. It marked the first time that a member of the Tribe hit a leadoff homer in back-to-back games. (Bell - mlb.com)
- 2020 Season: Cesar hit .283 with a .763 OPS, an American League-best 20 doubles, three homers and 20 RBIs in 58 games.
“Cesar did a great job,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said in October. “I mean, everything we had hoped he might be, he did that and more. He was arguably among the most consistent players we had all season: offensively, defensively, on the bases. He's a really good baseball player, and he fit really well into the fabric of our team and the culture in the clubhouse.” (M Bell - MLB.com - Jan 26, 2021)
As of the start of the 2021 season, Cesar's career Major League stats were: .277 batting average, 49 home runs with 273 RBI in 3,148 at-bats.
Cesar doesn't have enough arm to be a regular at shortstop, but he has sure hands that make him a very good second baseman.
He is a quality defender at second base with an above-average arm, though he tends to rely on it too much and becomes too passive and stationary in the field.
Hernandez has sure hands and slick infield actions, and he turns the double play very well. He has a solid, accurate arm and plenty of range at second base.
"He reminds me a little bit of an Alberto Callaspo/Erick Aybar type," Batavia manager Dann Bilardello said in 2010. "A great fielder, a switch-hitter, and he can run real well."
- Cesar's excellent instincts allow his defensive tools to play up.
- Hernandez tends to bend at his waist, and not at his knees, when fielding ground balls.
In 2013, the Phillies asked Cesar to move from second base to center field. He met the challenge, had some growing pains along the way, but improved pretty quickly. He had only played in the outfield one game in his pro career.
His speed and athleticism are reasons why the Phils are giving Hernandez a look in center. And for now, the attention is on his defense, Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage said in 2013. Hernandez was taking extra rounds of fly balls every day.
Hernandez said the one aspect he has struggled with the most is going back on fly balls over his head, and Brundage agreed.
"As a second baseman, you go right and left an awful lot," Brundage said. "But he's struggling on some balls that are back over his head that are deep, that he's having a tough time getting to, or getting a jump on."
In 2015, Hernandez played second base, third base, and shortstop.
- Since 2016, he has played second base almost exclusively.
- 2020 Improvements: Hernandez had a propensity to have ground balls bounce off his body and ricochet out of reach, leading to errors and Defensive Misplays, of which he totaled 40 in 2019. In just about a full season in 2020, he had only eight Misplays & Errors, and kept the ball in front of him with much greater frequency. In turn, he went from costing his team three runs to saving them six. (Mark Simon - Dec. 30, 2020)
- Cesar has the speed to impact a game and it plays well on the bases.
- Hernandez is also a very intelligent baserunner.
- He is a threat to steal a base.
- Phillies farm director Joe Jordan is high on Hernandez, 22. Jordan wants to see Hernandez use his legs more and become more of a presence on the field.
“He’s got all the tools and physical abilities to be an everyday player in the Majors,” Jordan said in April 2013. “No question. He can be an everyday offensive second baseman."
- In his five years with the Phillies, he always stole his share of bases, around 15 per year.
September 14, 2015: Cesar was placed on the 60-day DL with a dislocated left thumb.
- June 11-July 17, 2017: Cesar was on the DL with strained left oblique.